Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Royal Wedding

By: Kristen Paquet, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

The pending nuptials of the UK’s Prince William to Kate Middleton have caused quite a stir not only in Britain, but across the world thanks to social media. According to the Huffington Post, the engagement everyone had been anticipating was first announced through a Twitter post. How did the British Monarchy respond to the news? They sent a tweet right back.

Obviously, with a royal wedding you would anticipate a huge fan fare – the Prime Minister is even urging a parliamentary committee to declare the date a public holiday. But this is a whole different game when it comes to the technology we have at our fingertips today.

When William’s mother, Diana walked down the aisle, although it was broadcast for the world to see, there wasn’t anyone blogging about it during the ceremony or sending out a tweet about the dress or taking a photo of the crowd outside the church with their camera phone and posting it online in a matter of moments. But they will be now.

The date and location of the wedding, the dress Kate selects, and everything in between will undoubtedly be posted around the world in some way for everyone to re-tweet, ‘like’ (or not) and comment on. And with the date now locked in for late April, there will be plenty of time to pore over every blissful detail using the power of social media. So get ready because I don’t know if anyone is going to be able to escape it.

Will you be watching the royal wedding – and everything that leads up to it - or do you think you will have William and Kate overload by the time the big day arrives?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Food for Thought: Today’s News NEVER Dies

By: Beth Kneisler, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

While we all know that the media world is changing, you might not realize just how much it has changed. Case in point: the news never dies; it lives on in cyberspace. It used to be that broadcast news was aired and quickly faded away and we’d toss out or recycle our newspapers. Now, thanks to the Internet, news can, and does, resurface years later.

That fact was recently driven home at our office. A man from the New Orleans area contacted one of my co-workers to ask where he could buy “Curly Leaf” spinach. This, of course, struck us as a rather odd question since we don’t have any affiliation with spinach.

The man went on to explain that he had done a web search for Curly Leaf spinach and came across my co-worker’s name on a news release from September 23, 2006. (You may remember a big spinach recall that occurred at that time. L&F worked with “Curly Leaf,” or Savoy spinach, producers and growers, whose spinach was safe to eat, but got lumped in with the type of spinach that was being recalled.) The New Orleans man loves “Curly Leaf” spinach, but hasn’t been able to find it near his home and was making some calls following his Internet search.

While we didn’t know the answer to his question, we did know the right people to call about it and were happy to help him out. The real life lesson here – remember that the news NEVER dies, no matter if it’s good or bad. Obviously if it’s positive news, it’s good that your news resurfaces now and again. But if there is negative news floating around about you or your business, it could come back to haunt you. Be sure you’re continuously monitoring the web to find out what is being said about your business. If there’s a negative post, reach out to the person who posted the information to see if you can resolve the situation or misinformation. Remember, image is everything and it can, and does, make or break companies.

Do you have any examples of how “old” news has resurfaced? Do you have other suggestions on how companies can keep news about themselves positive? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Media Won’t Cover My Story – Why?

By: Susan Finco, President, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

Every now and then, we’re contacted by someone who is frustrated by their inability to generate media coverage. Oftentimes they are at a point where they realize they need professional expertise to get their story told. But sometimes they’re simply looking to us to “fix it.” Their first question usually is: “Why won’t the media cover our stories?” As someone who was a journalist in a former life, and as someone who now makes a living (in part) through media relations, the answer generally falls into one or more of these answers:

It’s not newsworthy. Is it something new or different; something people want to know about or should know about; is it a trend or a human interest story? Make sure your story is truly newsworthy. If you’re not sure, it’s probably not.

It’s not interesting. Slightly different from “it’s not newsworthy.” Why should the journalist (or his/her readers) care? It may be important to your firm or organization, but it might not be interesting to others. Is there a way to make it interesting? Maybe. We’ll need to talk and find out more.

It doesn’t grab their attention in the headline or first few sentences. Let’s face it, everyone is extremely busy these days and getting bombarded from every angle. If you don’t grab a reporter’s attention right away, you’re in trouble.

It doesn’t relate to their area of focus / interests. Know your reporters and media outlets (traditional and social). Don’t waste their time, and yours, by sending a pitch about a company’s environmental efforts to the religious reporter. I’ve seen things like that happen.

Information is missing. Go back to the basics whether you’re pitching a story, writing a release or calling a reporter. Include who, what, where, when, how and why along with a dateline, locator and contact information. Contact info should include after hours numbers, email, social media addresses, etc. Don’t forget to double check dates, times, addresses and phone numbers. Yes, it’s a reporter’s job to find out more about a story, but if you don’t give them the basics, they might not bother to look up the information.

It’s poorly written. Make it a policy to have at least one other person you work with check items going to reporters / media outlets. Go beyond a simple grammar check. Have them check for content, interest level, etc.

Of course, there are other reasons some routinely strike out with their media relations efforts. What would you add to this list?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Election and Facebook

By: Kristin Rabas, Account Executive, Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc.

I have to admit (like most people are in their mid-20s) I’m probably not as politically savvy as I should be. However, one thing that helped me sort through the mess of political ads that constantly claimed this person was a liar and that person said this was social media.

It’s no surprise that candidates have embraced social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. When you think about it, what better way is there to interact with the masses, hear from everyday people about the types of things they want to see changed and respond to the dirt that is flung in the TV ads?

While reviewing some of the candidates Facebook pages, I found it interesting to see just how many people are actively commenting on posts and engaging in the topics that the candidates are talking about. This is especially true for Tom Barrett’s and Scott Walker’s Facebook pages.

In the last week, most of the posts focused on getting out there and actually voting. Earlier in the campaign season there were discussions about issues such as stem cell research, abortion and education. In many cases, the posts were backed up by actual articles showing each candidate’s beliefs, not just words of he said, she said.

Here are a couple of Facebook pages of Wisconsin candidates from this year’s election. Do you think these pages had an impact on the election’s outcome? What other ways might candidates leverage social media?

Tom Barrett:!/barrettforwisconsin

Scott Walker:!/scottwalkerforgovernor

Reid Ribble:!/reidribble

Steve Kagen:!/pages/Steve-Kagen/8032945425

Ron Johnson:!/ron4senate

Russ Feingold:!/russfeingold